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[564] check the enemy who was coming up on the rear, he would attack the cavalry in front, to open our line of march in that direction. Lee's and Kershaw's divisions were therefore formed in line of battle faced to the rear. Anderson made the attack, but failed. Meantime an artillery fire was opened on Kershaw's and Lee's divisions; they, having no artillery to reply, were subjected to the severe trial of standing under a fire they could not return. In their praise, it was said they unflinchingly bore the test. Supposing probably that their artillery fire had demoralized our troops, the enemy's infantry advanced. They were repulsed, and that portion which attacked G. W. C. Lee's artillery brigade was charged by it, and driven back across Sailor's Creek. The enemy had now turned the flank of Kershaw's division and obliged it to retire. Ewell, while seeking some route by which his command might be extricated, was captured, and the enemy closed in on Lee's division, surrounding it on every side. Firing ceased, and the division was captured. A like fate befell the division of Kershaw. A portion of Anderson's corps escaped, but Ewell's was all captured. This corps, when it left Richmond, numbered about six thousand men. At the battle of Sailor's Creek there remained about three thousand. The fatigue of constant marching for days and nights to men unaccustomed to such service might sufficiently explain the diminution; to this must be added, however, the want of rations for the last two days of their campaign. Twenty-eight hundred were taken prisoners, and about a hundred fifty killed and wounded. From General Ewell's report I learn that the force of the enemy engaged at Sailor's Creek amounted to thirty thousand men. In closing his report he says:
The discipline preserved by General G. W. C. Lee in camp and on the march, and the manner in which he handled his troops in action, fully justified the request I had made for his promotion. General Kershaw, who had only been a few days under my command, behaved with his usual coolness and judgment.

Lest any should suppose, from the remark of General Ewell, that I had been unwilling or reluctant to promote my aide-de-camp, Colonel G. W. C. Lee, it is proper to state that the only obstacle to be overcome was Lee's objection to receiving promotion. With refined delicacy he shrank from the idea of superseding men who had been actively serving in the field, and in one case where the objection did not seem to me to have any application, he so decidedly preferred to remain with me, that I yielded to his wishes, but gave him additional rank to command the local troops for the defense of Richmond. His valuable services in that capacity, on various occasions, sustained my high opinion of him

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Strasburg Kershaw (5)
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